Virgo Full Moon: Torch of Regulus

Astraea

Astraea

Full Moon in Virgo

Around the hollow of her right flank a great stream of the primordially-generated Soul gushes forth in abundance, totally ensouling light, fire, ether, worlds.

In the left flank of Hekate exists the source of virtue, which remains entirely within and does not give up its virginity.

The Chaldean Oracles translated by Ruth Majercik, fragments 51 & 52

The Full Moon in Virgo on February 19 dramatically illuminates the ingress of the Sun into Pisces and is conjoining the fixed star Regulus, the heart of the lion, at zero degrees of Virgo. Due to precession of the equinoxes with the tropical zodiac, the fixed star Regulus entered tropical Virgo at the end of 2011, seen by many as ushering humanity into a new era in 2012 and beyond. Known as the heart of the lion in the Leo constellation, Regulus is one of the four royal stars of Persia that has anchored the zodiac and seasons for ages. In ancient Egypt when the Leo constellation rose at summer solstice with the flooding of the Nile, Regulus as the heart of the lion  served as the fierce protector and guardian of the revivifying water essential to civilization. Across astrological traditions, Regulus has been associated with leadership and power, the type of fiery strength that can achieve success and victory against all odds. According to Bernadette Brady, the nemesis of Regulus is revenge, meaning its ambitious qualities need to be balanced by restraining from seeking retribution and vengeance if we wish to secure the success it can bring.

In Indian astrology, the nakshatra of Regulus where the full moon will ripen is Magha, the seat or throne of the king that has been linked with splendor, regality, prosperity, power, and the will force needed to achieve important endeavors and victories. Dennis Harness described the shadow side of Magha in connection with the extreme ambition that resides here, such as “arrogance” and “prejudice,” over attachment to “material prosperity” and “identification with class status,” as well as “divine restlessness or chronic discontent” for falling short of high aspirations and perfectionist standards. Harness further described the danger of constant courting of external approval at expense of the essential self.

Magha’s ruling deities are the ancestor spirits Pitris, making the nakshatra associated with gifts and benefits brought by ancestors, as well as loyalty to spiritual lineages. Harness described Pitris as “the great Fathers of Humanity, who function as guardian angels giving protection in the event of major calamities on earth.” Interestingly Ketu is the ruler of Magha, since transiting Venus, Saturn, and Pluto are near the South Node of the Moon at the time of the Virgo Full Moon. Thus the Virgo Full Moon can amplify our capacity to receive support from lineages, a potential also signified by the grouping of Venus, Saturn, Pluto and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn.

Regulus is also central to the tenth lunar mansion Al-Jabhah, or “The Brow,” described in the Picatrix as the head of a lion. It is considered a starry place of recovery, healing, aid, improvement, strength, power, and success according to Christopher Warnock in his book on the mansions of the moon. Warnock described the sound of a mighty lion roar reverberating throughout this lunar mansion, signifying a return to power and strength following a period of sadness or depression.

In light of these connections between the Virgo Full Moon and Regulus, it is significant that the moon reaching peak light is separating from a trine with Uranus in Aries and applying to a trine with Mars in Taurus. There is incredible empowerment and assertion within these aspects which are further intriguing to consider with the shift of Regulus into the more humble, service oriented sign of Virgo. The starry power of Regulus may be applied to our discernment and choices, fueling desire for the strength of our authentic integrity to serve the greater good rather than feeding the flames of glamor, fame, and self recognition. In spite of the flooding of social media in recent years with selfies and self promotion, perhaps part of the meaning to be found with Regulus in tropical Virgo is to be a powerful support for others, to take leadership on behalf of one’s community, and to achieve goals without the need for proclamations or receiving external praise.

The Sea of Time and Space (Vision of the Circle of the Life of Man) by William Blake (London 1757 - London 1827)

The Sea of Time and Space by William Blake

Mercury in Pisces rules the Full Moon while conjoining Neptune in Pisces, making it the most imaginative, otherworldly, nebulous, and abstractly poetic lunation in Virgo imaginable.  Mercury is in its new Evening Star phase following its celestial cazimi in Aquarius, revitalized and freshened, visible in the twilight of sunset to help us digest and discern meaning from our daily experiences. Since Mercury is beginning to separate from its conjunction with Neptune at the time of the Full Moon, our ruminating thoughts will be more far ranging within imaginal spaces than normal, making our fantasies more potentially fruitful for new visions and ideas to cultivate.

Yet while Mercury in Pisces is separating from a conjunction with fantastical Neptune in Pisces, it is applying toward a sextile aspect with the hard reality and consolidating nature of Saturn in Capricorn. Part of this meaning can be applied to the reality that while Mercury is at the beginning of a strong phase within its synodic cycle, its recent union with Neptune also means that it has entered into the shadow of its upcoming Mercury retrograde phase in Pisces that will dominate the month of March. In fact, Mercury will remain in Pisces until April 17 and since Mercury will ultimately station direct at the end of March in a conjunction with Neptune, we will be returning for an extended period of Mercury conjoining Neptune again from March 20 through April 7.

Knowing a Mercury retrograde in Pisces will be starting on March 5, keep in mind that the imaginative visions and ideas you may receive at the Virgo Full Moon are likely to undergo many changes and shifts from now through April. Mercury’s applying sextile toward Saturn in Capricorn means we need to ground developing plans in the light of the full moon into secure structures that will both protect developing ideas as well as provide the needed flexibility for mutation in form over the next month. Mercury will also be in range of a sextile aspect with Venus in Capricorn for the rest of February which will never perfect due to the ultimate stationing of Mercury. We can have a rich exploration of aesthetics, playing around with different forms of style with regarding to developing plans, keeping in mind that some of the ideas we experiment with will not turn out to be fruitful.

Significantly, as Mercury in Pisces moves away from its union with Neptune it begins to move toward being received by a square aspect from Jupiter in Sagittarius. Just as the union of Mercury and Neptune in Pisces is the first of three that Mercury will experience due to its impending retrograde, so is the square aspect between Mercury and Jupiter the first of three. Mercury as a result will be artfully weaving us into the heart of the dynamic square aspect between Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter in Sagittarius from now through the middle of April. Thus begins a time to open awareness to how your dreams and fantasies inform your perceptions, how the state of your beliefs impact what you receive as well as achieve in the world. The Full Moon in Virgo is illuminating an initial glimpse into the depths of your inner world, bringing the possibility of self realization and reordering how we use our inner visions to manifest what we truly wish to create and manifest. There may be some disillusionment and waking up to self defeating patterns as part of this process, yet the upcoming Mercury retrograde may then be used to shed those same patterns.

darkness

Darkness by Thomas Danaher

Venus in Capricorn is separating from a conjunction with Saturn and is applying toward a union with Pluto and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn in the following week. Venus will conjoin Pluto on February 22 and the South Node of the Moon on February 25. Continuing to herald the sun as a Morning Star, Venus will be bringing us into fully feeling the ramifications of however the triple lineup of Saturn, Pluto, and Ketu in Capricorn is impacting us. On collective levels we can clearly see these effects in global power struggles and uprisings of conservative, nationalistic, and totalitarian politics, yet on an individual levels the type of intensified honing and consolidation demanded by these transits may feel exhausting.

As Venus moves through Saturn, Pluto, and Ketu, she is not calling for excess or the grandiose, but instead to strip away the inessential, find wisdom in elders and ancestral lineages, and to diligently and thoroughly build sturdy, substantial foundational elements of life with patient discipline open to the fluctuations of fortune. Moreover, after moving across Pluto and the South Node of the Moon, Venus will then move on to square Uranus at the final degree of Aries at the end of February. This occurs just before Uranus enters Taurus on March 6 and comes under the rulership of Venus. Altogether, Venus is leading us through an important process for the rest of February in which we will have to face restraining elements within our life, yet the by embracing the necessity and making modifications as needed, we will begin preparing personal space for the disruptive and liberating impact of Uranus in Taurus coming in March.

Chiron, Themis and Hebe

Chiron in Aries

The Virgo Full Moon also heralds the arrival of Chiron into Aries, where it will remain until 2027. Chiron is not only at the “Aries point” of zero degrees, it is also forming a quincunx aspect with the Virgo Full Moon. There’s something perfect about the quincunx between the lunation and Chiron, as the Full Moon’s union with Regulus points toward Chiron’s capacity for cultivating heroic qualities. Yet the quincunx aspect brings up the uncomfortable feelings that can come up when the gentle gaze of Chiron prods us to break out of comfortable routines in order to embrace a more courageous, essential expression.

The Full Moon is illuminating our first impressions of what Chiron has in store for us in Aries, the zodiacal terrain in which Chiron orbits as far away from us as it gets toward the orbit of Uranus. As Chiron’s orbit bridges the realms of Saturn and Uranus, in Aries his medicine incites us to follow the emancipatory influence of Uranus and its corresponding breakthrough experiences and reception of revelatory insight. Chiron in Aries wants you to be engaged and active, willing to assert your own integrity rather than succumb to conditioning influences which corrupt your authenticity. This is easier said than done, but fittingly for Chiron’s return to Aries our global society now has an abundance of teaching available on holistic medicine and healing practices to be accessed at our fingertips, as well as to be utilized on the heroic path Chiron is calling us to follow. It is no coincidence that Carl Jung, who promoted the concept of individuation, was born with Chiron in Aries.

 

Virgo 1 Decan

The Full Moon in Virgo arises in the first decan of Virgo associated with the Eight of Pentacles card illustrated above on the left by Pamela Colman Smith. The Virgo Full Moon will peak in light just after the ingress of the Sun into the first decan of Pisces, associated with the Eight of Cups card illustrated above on the right by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the Eight of Pentacles we see an artist and craftsman fully engrossed in the moment with his art, concentrating with full attention to one direct focus in the moment. This image evokes the importance of taking things step by step, one task at a time, completing each aspect of the process with loving care and attention. In contrast, within the image of the Eight of Cups we find a figure retreating into a watery, island realm of caves and seclusion ideal for contemplation. Their staff planted in earth, their red cape and boots signify the flowing vitality they may contact within a cultivated space of sacred meditation and ritual.

In the confluence of these images, we may also discover the power the Virgo Full Moon may harvest from its proximity to Regulus: strength in cultivating protected space to focus with loving attention on our sacred arts.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Tree Bearing Fruit” to this face, noting the prevalence of images associated with “fruitful works” developed through “humble observation of, and careful tending to, the created world” in ancient texts. Coppock wrote that the first face of Virgo inmates us “into the mysteries of incarnation . . . the prudence of postponing delight until the fruit is ripe.” While Coppock noted the first decan of Virgo involves “humility” at a core level, “it results in works of surprising glory.”

The Sun in the first face of Pisces is the ruler of the first face of Virgo, opening us to a Pisces season which will be extremely memorable due the retrograde movement of Mercury that will strike to the heart of the square aspect between Jupiter and Neptune. The vision of a potential “great work” received within the Virgo Full Moon conjoining Regulus is to be remembered, but expectations for the path toward manifestation to be smooth and easy need to be released. With Uranus on the cusp of entering Taurus, with the coming Mercury retrograde mixing up the depths of Jupiter and Neptune, there will be an ample abundance of imagination and creativity to draw from in any work. Let the creative process flow through you and allow its currents to guide you, letting go of attachment for needing to control things to happen in a certain way at a certain time. Nature and Spirit have their own plan in mind.

References

Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. Wessex Astrologer.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

de Fouw, Hart & Svoboda, Robert. (1996). Light on Life: Introduction to the Astrology of  India. Lotus Press.

Harness, Dennis. (1999). The Nakshatras: the Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology. Lotus Press.

Majercik, Ruth. (1989). The Chaldean Oracles. Brill Academic Pub.

Warnock, Christopher. (2010). The Mansions of the Moon: a Lunar Zodiac for Astrology & Magic. Renaissance Astrology.

 

Aquarius New Moon & Mercury

Clavis Artis mercury snake woman

from the Clavis Artis

New Moon in Aquarius

The Aquarius New Moon on February 4, 2019 lifts us out of the strange vortex of eclipse season for a breath of fresh air that can help us reorient our life in accordance with whatever material has been stirred up since the Capricorn Solar Eclipse on January 5.  The New Moon is at 15º43′ degrees of Aquarius, placing it at the cross quarter point midway between the solstice and equinox. This period is associated with the goddess Brigid in Celtic mythology who signifies the returning healing light of spring, fertility, poetry, and the arts forged through smithcraft. Fittingly, the New Moon is applying to a harmonizing sextile aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius, ideal for  finding a new form of stability to manage following the changes of the past month, forging art out of our experiences, as well as integrating the important lessons that have been revealed about ourselves.

Vitally, Mercury in Aquarius is separating from a sextile with Jupiter in Sagittarius and applying tightly toward a conjunction with Black Moon Lilith in Aquarius at the time of the Aquarius New Moon. Mercury was recently reborn at its celestial cazimi in Aquarius, and similar to the darkened moon that we cannot see at the lunation, Mercury also remains within its invisible phase of forging new meaning for us to interpret and express. We truly are in the dark at the Aquarius New Moon, but as the night gives birth to Mercury a week or so after the lunation, with Mercury emerging in light again as an Evening Star in twilight, we will gain greater clarity. Mercury has been working within hidden places during the entire eclipse season, as it first disappeared under the beams of the sun as the solar rays were partially eclipsed on January 5. Applying to Black Moon Lilith, Mercury is highlighting parts of ourselves we had previously cast off that the recent eclipse season have indicated we now need to integrate and express.

In 20th century astrology Uranus became the dominant ruler of Aquarius, and it thus fascinating that Uranus is carrying perhaps the biggest story of the forthcoming lunation cycle. Just before the moon emerges into visible crescent form it will pass through a sextile with Uranus in Aries, highlighting that we have entered the final month of Uranus being in Aries. Uranus first entered Aries in 2010, immediately intensifying a catalytic square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn that dominated astrology through 2016. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche described the Uranus and Pluto cycle as inciting “radical social and political change and often destructive upheaval, massive empowerment of revolutionary and rebellious impulses . . . intensified artistic and intellectual creativity . . . unusually rapid technological advance, an underlying spirit of restless experiment, drive for innovation, urge for freedom in many realms, revolt against oppression, embrace of radical political philosophies, and intensified collective will to bring forth a new world.” We will still be within the influence of the Uranus-Pluto square, but after Uranus enters Taurus and is no longer in a sign-based square with Pluto its edge will be less sharp.

Yet, since Uranus is separating away from Pluto while Saturn is applying to Pluto, the influence of the Saturn and Pluto cycle has been more viscerally felt. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche described the Saturn and Pluto cycle as being about “conservative empowerment,” as its cycle aligns with “eras of international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totalitarian impulses, organized violence and oppression . . . An atmosphere of gravity and tension.” Significantly, Mars in Aries has moved through a square aspect with both Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn and is now applying toward a conjunction with Uranus, bringing both cycles together on personal and societal levels.

Mars will complete is union with Uranus in Aries on February 12, and so there will be a great amount of tension building from the Aquarius New Moon to be released at that time. While collective events will reverberate with the changes that have been in process since 2010, on personal levels we will also be coming to terms with our own process of growth. The union of Mars with Uranus in Aries is impulsive and headstrong, and while difficult to restrain we will want to do our best to align the forceful fire of their conjunction with our inner values and integrity.  It will be best to not incite conflict where it is not necessary, but in any circumstance in which we need to stand up for ourselves it will bring an assertive, liberating, propulsive push.

The forthcoming lunation cycle also brings the end of Chiron’s time in Pisces, as Chiron will enter Aries as the moon is waxing into fullness on February 18. Chiron will then remain in the fiery home of Mars until 2027. Chiron first entered Pisces in April 2010 during the time period that the Uranus-Pluto square was beginning to intensify, and so has been with us in the watery home of Jupiter the entire time we have been dealing with the epochal eruptions of Uranus and Pluto throughout our global collective. Considering whatever house in your natal chart belongs to Pisces, in particular if the final degree of Pisces is significant by aspect in your natal chart, you can expect a final lesson of resolution relating to Chiron in the sign of Fishes as the light of the moon grows each day toward fullness.

In Pisces, Chiron has oftentimes needed to lead us into the innermost depths of his cave in order to nurture wounds, integrate lessons, and intuitively attune ourselves to changing currents through his vast array of hermetic medicines. We are now at the final weeks of receiving healing from the inner waters of Chiron before we will need to strike out on a fiery quest as Chiron enters Aries on February 18. Just as Chiron brought us resources from Pisces during the square between Uranus and Pluto, Chiron will now be bringing resources from Aries to assert ourselves during the coming union of Saturn and Pluto. Since the Saturn and Pluto cycle is oftentimes associated with oppressive, reactionary forces, we can link the square formed to Capricorn from Chiron in Aries with freedom fighters and social justice activists, as well as consequences of conflict brought by protest and revolutionary movements.

atalanta fugiens saturn emblem 12

Michael Maier, Emblem 12 from Atalanta Fugiens

The way we work with and become impacted by Jupiter is often tied to the familial, cultural, and societal traditions that have been surrounding and influencing us. There is currently a strong influence of Neptune in Pisces on all of this, as Neptune is in a change inducing square aspect with Jupiter, and Neptune is also in a harmonious sextile aspect with Saturn in Capricorn, the ruler of the Aquarius New Moon. Jupiter will expand within the skeletal structures we have erected with Saturn, and so for many Jupiter could be expanding self centered and overly materialistic tendencies, or a nationalistic emphasis that neglects alternative viewpoints as well as more far reaching, global consequences of putting one’s own interests above others. The influence of Neptune is multivalent, in some cases keeping people wrapped up in illusions of belief, in other cases dissolving old belief structures through disillusioning experiences that reveal new awareness of personal truth.  Aquarius is zodiacal terrain ruled by Saturn that promotes the heretic willing to cut ties with corrosive cultural patterns, contemplating a new path to follow aligned in greater accord with inner integrity.

The work of C.G. Jung is interesting in connection with Saturn’s rulership of Aquarius, not only because Jung had both his ascendant and Saturn in Aquarius, but also due to many of his ideas in late 20th century astrology becoming associated with the Uranus rulership of Aquarius. It has been fascinating for me to read the two volumes written by Liz Greene thoroughly researching Jung’s work with astrology, as she revealed that Jung in fact not only emphasized the Saturn rulership of Aquarius, but also that he connected Saturn with “the unconscious darkness within the human being: that which is most despised and ‘inferior’ .  . .”  Saturn to Jung leads us to confront “the darkness of the unconscious,” a necessity for “any integration of the personality to occur.”

Jung also noted the important alchemical link between Mercury and Saturn, synthesizing it into his astrological interpretation of them- meaning which connects to the proximity of Mercury in Aquarius to the new moon. Greene described his interpretation as revealing that the “shadowy, potentially destructive prima materia of the unconscious, represented by Saturn, bears a secret unity with the mysterious mediating agency in the psyche, represented by Mercury, that fosters the conscious recognition of meaning and teleology.” In a similar way, all of the unconscious material that emerged into awareness during the past month of eclipses now needs to be sifted, mediated, and mixed into our actual daily presence, rather than splitting it off or dissociating.

C.G. Jung’s work is also resonant with our historical era of Saturn and Pluto coming together in Capricorn because Jung was born with an almost exact square aspect between his natal Saturn in Aquarius and Pluto in Taurus. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche brilliantly summarized the connection between Jung’s work with the meaning of the Saturn-Pluto cycle:

Throughout his life, Jung stressed the critical need for the modern self to become aware of its shadow, which he named, recognized as an archetypal principle, and examined in the traumas of twentieth-century history: the shadow of European civilization, the shadow of modern man, the shadow of modern technology, the shadow of patriarchy and masculine one-sidedness, the shadow of Christianity, the shadow of the conscious ego, the shadow within each individual. “It is indeed no small matter to know of one’s own guilt and one’s own evil, and there is certainly nothing to be gained by losing sight of one’s shadow . . . Without guilt, unfortunately there can be no psychic maturation and no widening of the spiritual horizon.”

. . . The very notion of the shadow as Jung conceived it represents an intricate synthesis of the two planetary principles: from Saturn, the motifs of judgment, guilt and shame, suppression and repression, splitting and separation, denial, the inferior, that which is regretted and negated; and from Pluto, those aspects of the self that constitute its “underworld,” the instincts, the dark depths of the personality, the animal-like, the often ruthless and ugly, serving impulses for power, domination, lust, and other drives yet also representing that healthy instinctuality from which healing, wholeness, and a higher consciousness can ultimately emerge.

— Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche

meret-oppenheim-stone-woman-steinfrau-1938

Meret Oppenheim Stone Woman

Venus enters Capricorn the day before the Aquarius New Moon, and then moves toward a conjunction with Saturn as the moon waxes full in the forthcoming lunar cycle. By the end of the lunar cycle, Venus will have moved through unions with Pluto and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, as well as a catalytic square aspect with Uranus in the final degree of Aries. There are a couple of ways to view this journey of Venus in her bright Morning Star phase: on one hand, it can be seen as a rough, restraining passage for Venus necessitating focused hard work. This time period is in stark contrast to last month when Venus was uniting with Jupiter in Sagittarius while aspecting Neptune in Pisces, as it brings Venus back to earth in a way that will force us to mediate the limitations of current circumstances as well as the underlying, unconscious depths of our shadow.

On the other hand, an important viewpoint is that Venus is bringing her unifying significations to mediate the building tension between Saturn and Pluto. Capricorn is a sensual and tactile placement for Venus, and her movement through aspects with Saturn, Pluto, the South Node of the Moon, and Uranus means that we will be deeply feeling all of the associated material within ourselves and within our relational dynamics. Though difficult feelings may come during this transit, the passage of Venus during the forthcoming lunar cycle will help us to orient ourselves toward however the myriad aspects of our lives are taking shape in accordance with the coming union of Saturn and Pluto. As Capricorn is a cardinal sign of initiation, Venus can help guide us toward places we need to make adjustments within our relationships.

As the Moon waxes toward fullness, there will be a major astrological shift away from externally directed signs toward receptive, internally directed signs. Mars will shift from Aries into the inner, earthy sign of Taurus on February 14 where the red planet will look to Venus for guidance. Mercury will enter the inner, watery sign of Pisces a week after the Aquarius New Moon, as it also reemerges into visibility as an Evening Star with a significant Neptunian message for us to receive.  As a result the week following the Aquarius New Moon will feel active with an accelerated pace that will begin to slow down in the days leading into the Full Moon in Virgo on February 19.

swords06

6 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 2 Decan

The New Moon in Aquarius falls in the second decan of Aquarius associated with the Six of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Swords in the image are anchored, suggesting firm resolve and grounding, yet staked into a boat journeying through watery, liminal space. There is a vision behind the image, a bold determination to follow foresight into foreign territory, with the ferryman in a role of guidance not unlike the psychopomp Mercury.  The destination on the far shore is not capable of being reached by the passengers without the utility of the boat and the labor of the ferryman, and so there is a letting go in needing to be along for the ride. The image also reveals three of the swords staked into the dark void at the front of the boat, while the other three are placed in protection around the mother and child.

The second face of Aquarius is ruled by Mercury, found in the image of the Six of Swords as the ferryman creating a network between shores.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to this face, writing that it connects multiple territories with a sense of “principled but fierce wisdom” that utilizes the independence of Aquarius to stabilize “commerce between heaven and earth.”  Coppock described it as a place to “connect worlds without becoming beholden to them,” acting in accordance with “one’s principles” in a way that allows for the mediation and forging of “the orthodox and unorthodox, the known and the unknown.” Coppock also noted the link of Phobos to this face in the Hellenistic text 36 Airs, signifying the terror and fear many feel when encountering the unknown and alien.

Interestingly, Mercury is barely present within the second face of Aquarius it rules at the exact moment the New Moon aligns, on the threshold of leaving the second decan of Aquarius to cross into the third decan of Aquarius. In the month of February, all of the planets are direct and after Mercury becomes visible again in the week after the lunation, all of the planets will also be visible. If you are being compelled to take a risk of entering unknown territory, leaving a familiar situation for the unfamiliar, there is plenty of planetary impetus to support getting the work done. Moreover, since the month of March will be dominated by Mercury retrograde in Pisces, the month ahead is opportune for taking strides to make progress and solidify structures in preparation for the mercurial shifting that will be coming in March. Since we can expect the unexpected manifestations of Uranus, the more we embrace change and coming up with new solutions, the better. Heed the ancient words of Heraclitus: “Whoever cannot seek / the unforeseen sees nothing, / for the known way / is an impasse.”

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Greene, Liz. (2018). Jung’s Studies in Astrology: Prophecy, Magic, and the Qualities of Time. Routledge.

Greene, Liz. (2018). The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. Routledge.

Haxton, Brooks. (2001). Fragments: The Collected Wisdom of Heraclitus. Viking.

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.

New Moon & Venus in Capricorn

 

beau v photo of white trees b w

Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

New Moon in Capricorn

Within the heart of the dark forest we seclude ourselves from the tumult and toxicity of civilization.  We feel the slow rhythm of the earth under our feet, the songs of the wild in the air, the sense of the trees reaching out from and sinking deep into subterranean nourishment.   The canopy of trees shelter the surrounding diversity of nature, the natural cycles of growth and decay clearly observable.   A Capricorn New Moon is similarly an opportunity to center and ground within the changes of what is ready to be developed and what is passing away or in need of release.  Capricorn is most potent and fertile when we allow our inner life to help us navigate through the labyrinth of external conditioning structures and influences.

The New Moon in Capricorn on January 16 takes us into a season of eclipses, with a Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo (12º) coming January 31 followed by a Partial Solar Eclipse in Aquarius arriving February 15 (27º).  The emphasis on Capricorn calls us to formulate plans and fixate determination to persevere, yet the nature of the forthcoming eclipse season portends a wave of events on the horizon bringing changes in circumstances requiring adjustment. This theme is reemphasized by the New Moon forming a square with Uranus in Aries.  The places in your natal chart impacted by the coming eclipses in Leo and Aquarius are important to take into consideration at this New Moon.  Ultimately, the Capricorn New Moon is fertile ground to launch the work and endeavors you are most passionate about, with a willingness to consistently put in the necessary amount of practice, study, and effort needed to achieve successful manifestation.

beau mountain b w photo

Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

Saturn rules the New Moon from within the stability and strength of its own home in Capricorn.  Co-present with the New Moon and Saturn in Capricorn are Mercury, Venus, Pluto, and Black Moon Lilith.  During the darkening of the Moon leading up the Capricorn lunation, Mercury finally completed its final conjunction with Saturn in Capricorn that links back to its previous Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius (December 2 -22, 2017) that began with Mercury united with Saturn.   Direct action toward goals and strengthening of foundations are needed now more than reflective restraint.  Contemplation must be yoked to determined effort and disciplined focus.  Distractions flee under the glare of Saturn, revealing the core desires, needs, and issues to prioritize.  The plethora of placements in Capricorn support creative visualization of developing plans that pragmatically discerns a path forward with solutions that are both realistic and imaginative.

While Saturn in Capricorn intensifies the Saturnine significations of the Capricorn New Moon, Mercury will be a bright Morning Star in Capricorn in the lunar cycle ahead, ready to help make clarified choices within daily tasks.  Mercury will be transitioning from Capricorn into Aquarius as the blood red eclipse in Leo forms on January 31.  While there will be solid astrological support for making headway with work and projects in the next couple of weeks, remember to make time for self care and restful dreaming time.  The emphasis on Capricorn can coincide with intense, pressurized feelings of time and space and deadlines we must meet.  Ideally a balance can be struck between seizing the moment when opportunities appear and nurturing ourselves so we have our full strength to summon when needed.

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

A New Venus synodic cycle began in the week before the New Moon that was simultaneously united with Pluto in Capricorn.  The personal meaning found in the January 8 solar union of Venus and Pluto seeds the growth beginning to form within the New Moon.  The reception of meaning stemming from this alignment will continue to slowly deepen in awareness in coming weeks, prodding us to face and overcome whatever fears have been holding us back.  It can be easy to remain stuck in routines and responsibilities we have outgrown due to the comfort of the old and familiar that do not require making radical changes.  The rebirth of Venus in union with the Sun and Pluto, combined with Mercury and Saturn also residing in Capricorn, facilitates asking new questions that demand new answers and a reframing of circumstances.  Old structures can more easily break open within the series of eclipses we will be experiencing within the next month, making this a perfect time to courageously consider how our use of time and space can be rearranged so we are more actively engaged with inspirational activity that grips our full presence.

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

The other major aspect of the Capricorn New Moon involves the harmonious sextile with Scorpio holding a formidable influence of Mars and Jupiter.  Mars is separating from a recent union with Jupiter in Scorpio, and Mars has a receptive sextile with the New Moon due to it occurring in the exaltation of Mars.  Amplifying the transmutational potency is Jupiter in a close sextile with Pluto in Capricorn, and Mars in Scorpio in square with the degree of the partial Solar Eclipse in Aquarius coming February 15.  We have both malefics, Mars and Saturn, at full strength in their own homes.  Malefics are a polarity to benefics due to their correspondences often causing fear and requiring determined resiliency in response.  Often the key to overcoming fears is a willingness to explore their undercurrents and face whatever lies at their root.  As we shed old fears the harmonious interchange between Scorpio and Capricorn within the lunation brings a forceful current to propel us through the upcoming eclipses into bold new levels of development.

In addition, Neptune in Pisces has a less obvious effect within the New Moon as it forms harmonious whole sign aspects with the abundance of planets in Capricorn and Scorpio.  The strongest aspect for Neptune in the New Moon involves Mercury in Capricorn applying to a sextile with Neptune.  Furthermore, the Total Lunar Eclipse coming on January 31 is aligned with the nodes of Neptune, with the Sun and South Node of the Moon conjoining the South Node of Neptune, and the eclipsed Moon and North Node of the Moon conjoining the North Node of Neptune.   Altogether this ramps up the imaginative fertility of the New Moon to foster a dissolution of restrictive conditioning influences from the past in order to activate creative actualization of core talents and calling.

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4 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 3 Decan

The New Moon arises in the third decan of Capricorn associated with the Four of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  An image of empire building and wielding influence from a seat of power, the Four of Pentacles signifies a cultivation of inner talents to make an impact in the material world in matters that are most meaningful.  The crowned and enthroned figure has pentacles below and above him, with a fourth pentacle cradled at heart level evoking a spinning wheel of fortune.   The figure towers in the foreground, suggesting someone sovereign and able to manage structures to bring material prosperity and security within the wildly fluctuating changes in fortune that come and go within surrounding society.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Throne” to the third face of Capricorn, a fitting image given that the Sun rules the decan.  Coppock wrote that this face of Capricorn involves administering from a throne to control the elements of the world needed to attain material gain and positions of greater power and responsibility.  Notably, Coppock cautioned that hubris can tempt those grasping for power in this face to overlook the weight of responsibility and the loneliness of isolation that accompany achieving ambitions.  Coppock warned that accumulations of material wealth, power, and responsibility “may end up crushing them,” the idealized palace turning into a restrictive prison.

Since Saturn in Capricorn can bolster the application of the New Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Pluto in Capricorn toward whatever ambition we set our mind and will toward, make sure that the achievement of current goals are in accord with a healthy, balanced life that enables inner fulfillment in addition to external success.   If you are feeling overwhelmed and blocked by external circumstances, let yourself surrender to acceptance while remaining watchful and determined to find openings for advancement, no matter how small or temporary.    In fact, the astrological alignments at the New Moon can help prepare and refine an abundance of inner riches and attainment of inner wisdom that has nothing to do with material circumstances.  Within the shifting tides of the material realm, however, perseverance and determination will be required to navigate the sweeping change on the horizon.

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

 

Capricorn Cazimi: Venus & Pluto

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The Magic of Pan’s Flute (1905) John Reinhard Weguelin

Venus in the Heart of the Capricorn Sun

Venus has begun a new cycle with the Sun, forming an exact conjunction with our Sun on January 8 or 9, 2018 depending upon your time zone.  The beginning of the new synodic cycle for Venus is even more potent than normal due to it simultaneously beginning a new cycle with Pluto. Venus in the heart of the Sun with Pluto takes us deep into the bedrock of inner desires and values, and as we dig into the soil of soul we will unearth meaning  that will guide us on our journey forward, even if current feelings are difficult.  Venus is currently orbiting on the far side of the Sun from Earth, its union with the Sun at this point in its cycle called the exterior or superior conjunction of Venus.  This solar union is in contrast to the conjunction Venus forms when it is retrograde and in between the orbit of Earth and the Sun, called the interior or inferior conjunction of Venus.    Venus will still be invisible to us for awhile, but is now in transition into becoming visible again eventually as an Evening Star at the beginning of March 2018.

The vivifying light of our Sun is a foundational source for meaning found within astrology.  Of course the Sun is the source of the light that our visible planets reflect back to us and that define their phases, whether that is the constantly waxing and waning of our Moon or the slower shifts in time we experience through Saturn.  As a result when planets unite with the Sun by zodiac degree within astrology, they are returning to their source of light and being reborn.  As the planet approaches its union with the Sun we can imagine it being somewhat weakened due to the purification process underway, not unlike our bodily sensations when soaking in a hot spring or sweating in a sauna.  The planets beyond our orbit such as Mars and Jupiter only experience one conjunction with the Sun during their synodic cycle, while in contrast Mercury and Venus experience two conjunctions since they orbit in between our Earth and the Sun.

Traditionally, astrological text pinpoints the superior/exterior conjunction of the Sun as the very beginning of the synodic cycle of Venus, an important consideration especially in terms of answering queries through horary.  At the same time there is a debate amongst astrologers based upon experience and observational factors over whether or not the interior conjunction of Venus (when Venus is retrograde and aligned with the Sun in between our orbit with the Sun) should actually be considered the beginning.  However, whether you believe the current exterior conjunction of Venus on the far side of the Sun from us in orbit is the beginning or midpoint of its overall synodic cycle, all astrologers can agree that when united with the Sun that Venus is being purified and regenerated through the union.

Venus has been under the beams of the Sun and invisible to us since early November 2017, and so since then there has been something more hidden and internal about Venus with the potential for a purifying reflection process about all things Venusian.  As mentioned, our astrological tradition has considered this to be a phase of Venus not being at full strength, a period in which Venus is seen as being most successful undergoing secretive, hidden endeavors.  The ancient astrologer Rhetorius (from the 6th/7th century) wrote the first written record that survives denoting the significance of a planet becoming strengthened when in the heart of the Sun, which to Rhetorius occurs when a planet is within one degree of the Sun (later Medieval astrologers moved this range, also called cazimi, to be within sixteen minutes of orb).  Being in the heart of the Sun was likened to the planet sitting on the solar throne: Venus as the Queen, with all things Venusian amplified in strength during her meeting with the Sun.

There is also an additional protective factor considered to be important to ancient astrologers such as Porphyry and Rhetorius when a planet is invisible and close to the Sun by zodiac degree, translated as the planet being in its chariot.  A planet is in its chariot, protected from being weakened by the solar rays, whenever it is within its own domicile, exaltation, or bounds.  Thus Venus is in her chariot whenever she is close to the Sun in Taurus, Libra, Pisces or within her own bounds.  The Egyptian bounds for Venus in Capricorn range from fourteen to twenty-two degrees, and so there is an additional consideration to take into account of Venus being in her chariot during her union with the Sun and Pluto.  Venus also has triplicity dignity in Capricorn since Venus favors the earth signs, and so altogether these factors give Venus support in not becoming overwhelmed by her meeting with Pluto and the Sun. This means the triple union of Sun, Venus, and Pluto is especially focused upon Venusian matters, and we can feel our relationship with Venus and her significations acutely.

Since Pluto is an invisible planet far away in orbit, it may seem strange to imagine it also being regenerated in the heart of the Sun by transit, but there is still the same effect of both Venus and Pluto being simultaneously regenerated in meaning for us through their alignment with our solar light.  Be patient with whatever feelings and insights are arising with this stunning union, and nurture the inner process they lead you into, for this astrological alignment is setting the stage for the events of the rest of 2018 to unfold.  Often our personalities don’t like the issues Pluto brings up in transit, whether it be due to fear or wanting to be in denial of certain realizations that come to our awareness.  Within the tumult of tempestuous collective change promised by the astrological alignments of 2018, the solar highlighting of Venus and Pluto can guide us into inner awareness of the modifications we need to make in all areas of our life connected to the role we are called to embody in society.

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The Cross Rose in the Garden of Venus (2016) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Since the Sun, Venus, and Pluto have united in the home of Saturn, its further significant that Saturn is in its home, co-present in Capricorn.  Capricorn is the inwardly directed home of Saturn, and so Saturn also being in Capricorn brings sharper focus into matters of time and space and forces of change we can sense underway in our reality.   The beautiful aspect of this strong emphasis on Capricorn is that we have the astrological support to make real, tangible progress in the direction we are being called to focus upon.  At the same time there can be a lot of frustration over the limitations of time and space available to us with our numerous responsibilities, and so it will be important to reprioritize goals so we can reconfigure the best way to make use of our time.  We need to be letting go and letting things pass away that no longer carry the same soulful inspiration as in the past, to make space for whatever is going to make us feel more alive and passionate.

We associate Saturn with the order of time and forces of necessity, and Capricorn with the maturity and responsibility we cultivate through facing natural cycles of change. Both of these meanings of Saturn and Capricorn fit in well with the synodic cycle of Venus as it is incredibly structured and consistent, with effects on our experience of time that bring a sense of destiny and fate to associated events.  If you trace the five  points around the zodiac at which Venus stations during its eight year synodic cycle, each point forms a quintile 72 degree aspect, creating the image of a five pointed star when plotted on paper.  Every eight years we experience a Venus retrograde in the same general area of the zodiac at generally the same time, and every eight alternating years we experience Venus moving direct into the Sun in the same place.  [note: Chris Brennan recently interviewed Nick Dagan Best regarding Venus and Mars retrograde cycles and their timing sequence you can view here]

This means that eight years ago in January 2010 we experienced a superior conjunction of Venus in Capricorn, and that four years ago in 2014 we experienced a Venus retrograde in Capricorn (and another superior conjunction of Venus in Capricorn in January 2002 and another Venus retrograde in Capricorn in January 2006).  Interestingly the Venus retrograde in Capricorn in 2014 also involved Pluto, as Venus stationed direct in range of a conjunction with Pluto.  There is approximately nine months in between the superior and inferior conjunctions of Venus, and so this means that later this year in October 2018 we will experience an interior conjunction of Venus with the Sun while Venus is retrograde in Scorpio.  The Venus retrograde in Scorpio later this year will finish up with Venus stationing direct in Libra in range of an opposition to Uranus in Aries and a square to the lunar nodes which will have transitioned into Capricorn and Cancer.  Venus will form three oppositions with Uranus through going retrograde and will be part of the transition of Uranus back into Aries from Taurus.  Since there is tremendous change portended by these alignments, its all the more important to pay attention right now with Venus having recently aligned with the Sun and Pluto.

2018 is remarkable in the interplay between Mars and Venus synodic cycles, as Venus will station retrograde in Scorpio in October in range of a square to the same place Mars will have stationed retrograde in Aquarius in June.  Just like Venus will make three oppositions with Uranus through its retrograde, Mars will make three catalytic square aspects with Uranus through its retrograde process.  The dynamics between the Venus and Mars cycles will be one of the most important aspects of 2018, and in collective current events we can already clearly see this through numerous examples of gender issues dominating the news cycle.  With Venus being regenerated with the Sun while aligned with Pluto, there is a strong emphasis on empowerment of women and feminine issues in the face of systematic oppression.

Venus and Mars began their current cycle through forming a conjunction in Virgo at the same time as a Full Moon in Aries in October 2017.  Venus and Mars have now entered into their waxing sextile alignment under the most amazing of astrological circumstances:  Mars conjunct Jupiter in Scorpio forming a sextile with Venus in conjunction with Pluto and the Sun.  There is potential for harmonious integration of Venus and Mars in our life now, yet the additional astrological elements make it a supercharged dynamic that could lead into overwhelming feelings difficult to handle.  The Mars and Jupiter alignment in Scorpio is even more jarring due to it forming in range of a square to the lunar nodes and the upcoming season of eclipses we are entering.  These aspects support courage in breaking free of previous restrictive conditions, but remember sometimes all that is possible for us to do is make what appears to be a small change from outside perspectives.  These alignments support the overused analogy of carefully building your path brick by brick with strong focus on details of each movement.

Speaking of eclipses on the horizon, at the end of January we will experience a Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo that will feature Venus in Aquarius aligned with the Sun and the South Node of the Moon.  This means that Venus will be part of the symbolic filter the Sun is shining its shadow through onto the Moon, creating the optic effect of a blood red Moon.   Since Venus is so instrumental in the upcoming Total Lunar Eclipse on January 31, it makes the insights and realizations we gain now with Venus aligned with Pluto and the Sun all the more important.  To keep it simple open feelings to what you want more of and what you want less of, where you feel pulled to spend more time and what you feel you need to let go of.

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You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth . . . When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music . . . Work is love made visible.
– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

This quote from Kahlil Gibran is included in the wonderful book on vocation and astrology written by Brian Clark called Vocation: The Astrology of Career, Creativity, and Calling.  One aspect of Brian Clark’s work I admire is his ability to open up the imaginal field of interpretation within astrology in creative ways.  Similar to this imaginal direction, I’ve always enjoyed the association of the nature deity  and flute playing Pan with the sign of Capricorn because it’s always felt aligned with my experience of people with Capricorn placements.  We often see Capricorn written about in cold and austere ways, but there is also a creative, visionary capacity of Capricorn that enables us to connect with a calling beyond our former conditioning, rather than following careers restricted to our former conditioning.

Capricorn is a nocturnal sign and so the nocturnal home of Saturn which stands in contrast to Aquarius being the diurnal home of Saturn.  Robert Hand has taught that the nocturnal sect in astrology has more focus on being unconditional in expression in contrast to the diurnal sect having more focus on being conditional.  Saturn is a diurnal planet we associate with significations that are very conditional, such as deadlines and whether or not we pass the test.  It will clearly be important to handle all of our daily responsibilities as always, and in fact Saturn’s presence in Capricorn may make us feel the need to be accountable even more sharply.  Yet don’t allow this to keep you from dreaming of how things can be different and remembering to take the time to nurture your inner life instead of becoming exhausted through work in the external world.

With Saturn now in its nocturnal home of Capricorn, with Venus having become regenerated through union with Pluto and the Sun in Capricorn, allow your visions of career and creative expression to soar beyond all of the restrictions currently felt within your daily responsibilities and grind.  Allow your desires for a soulful calling to soak deep into subterranean waters and wells that hold memories of the deepest gifts you have to offer.  Our world in 2018 will be going through seismic societal shifts, and we will all benefit the more each of us brings our works of passion forth to share.  I’ll end with a quote from Brian Clark’s book on vocation:

“Vocation is not about being someone, but becoming who we are . . . A literal career or profession, no matter how enlightened, is not the answer to the soul’s longing. Vocation is an aspect of the individuation process and its path is not predetermined but forged over time through the relationship of the inner self with the outer world. Vocation demands its own set of rules and insists on its own laws . . . To pursue one’s true vocation takes courage, as well as the strength to break free from ‘the herd.’”

— Brian Clark, Vocation: The Astrology of Career, Creativity and Calling

 

 

 

 

New Moon in Aquarius

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Greek water jar (490 B.C.) with Triptolemos bringing wheat to humanity in his winged chariot

Aquarius New Moon

The New Moon in Aquarius on February 8, 2016 ushers in the Year of the Fire Monkey in Chinese culture, and similarly holds an array of aspects facilitating bursting forth with new endeavors.  Mercury remains in its retrograde shadow zone, yet has separated from triggering the Pluto and Uranus square.  Venus is close behind Mercury in Capricorn, and also separating from its conjunction with Pluto and square to Uranus in Aries that occurred in the Dark Moon preceding this New Moon.  While January and the first week of February this year contained heavy, chthonic, cathartic astrological aspects, a New Moon in Aquarius brings a moment to detach from feelings in order to objectify and envision pioneering intentions.  Aquarius is the sign of the purifying idealist who can bridge diverse worlds, crossing intellectual boundaries such as time and space, finding the future through exploration of the old.  Aquarius is a fixed sign of yang energy that can help foster the setting and achievement of goals that will bring stability.  However, since this particular Aquarius New Moon is in square to Mars in Scorpio, we will also need to beware of a shadow side of self-righteousness.

This New Moon is in the home of Saturn, and the transiting Sagittarius Saturn is in sextile to this Aquarius New Moon.  In addition, the modern ruler of Aquarius, Uranus, is also in sextile to the New Moon as well as in trine to Saturn in Sagittarius.  These aspects highlight the innovative nature of Aquarius that can not only brainstorm progressive ideas and solutions, but also create the necessary structure to bring inventive concepts into material manifestation.  In the past month collectively we have passed through intense astrological transits that brought up core issues, fears, and desires.  In the dark of this Aquarius New Moon we can  begin to separate from past compulsions and enter a more objective mental space. Here in the cool, airy mentality of Aquarius we will not be completely free of the feelings we have been overly fixated upon, but the influence of these gripping, irresistible desires can be less restrictive on our vision going forward.

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Inner Forces (1939) by Paul Klee

Mars holds significant influence over this New Moon as it is in a superior square to the lunation as well as fully fulfilled in its own domicile of Scorpio.  The New Moon arrives following a crashing wave of Mars, as the Sun will have formed a square with Mars a day before the New Moon, and the Moon itself will square Mars about an hour before the exact timing of the lunation.  This can bring a more righteous, fervent quality to the intentions and goals we are envisioning, and also signifies that incredible effort and determination will be needed in achieving them.  While anger over what appears to be in the way of goals could come up, the activated Mars embedded in this New Moon contains the impetus necessary to launch bold ventures.  As we simultaneously enter the Year of the Fire Monkey, this New Moon evokes the feeling of fireworks traditionally associated with the dawning of a New Year.

In the next seven months Mars will become one of the most significant planets in transit, as it will be retrograde from April 17 through June 28.  About a week after the New Moon, Mars will enter the shadow zone of its upcoming retrograde, and so this New Moon in square to Mars opens a window to the torrential storm of Mars brewing outside.  As the upcoming Mars retrograde will begin with Mars conjoining the red star Antares, found in the heart of the Scorpion constellation, we will experience another Royal Star retrograde activation such as we did last July when Venus stationed retrograde conjoining Regulus.  Mars retrograde periods tend to bring pivotal twists of fate, and so beginning with this New Moon it will be worthwhile to begin intuiting what could be coming in tandem with the approaching retrograde of Mars.

Mars has been conjoining Juno over the past couple weeks, and though still in range of a conjunction at this New Moon, Mars has now separated from Juno.  At the same time Mars and Juno are both in sextile to Venus and Pluto in Capricorn.  Altogether, these aspects suggest that Mars and Venus are stirring up the core relationship desires that we will be needing to focus on and process over the next seven months.

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Paul Klee (1925) May Picture

Venus in Capricorn like the New Moon is in a sign of Saturn, though in Capricorn more focused upon initiating from an inner sense of value.  The Aquarius New Moon arrives at a harmonious time in the transiting cycle of Venus and Mars, as Venus will have entered into a Crescent, waxing sextile with Mars.  In 2015 we experienced three conjunctions between Venus and Mars, meaning that it took most of the year in order to fully initiate their new cycle.  Now in a Crescent sextile, Venus in Capricorn can facilitate the structuring of the deep Scorpio Mars desires in order to help lay down solid roots to bolster new growth and resist the pull of past patterns no longer serving our developing purpose.  There is tremendous potency between transiting Venus and Mars at this New Moon, as Venus is carrying the tumultuous energy from its conjunction with Pluto and square with Uranus into the formation of its sextile with Mars.

Venus is also in range of a conjunction with Mercury in Capricorn, following the blazed trail formed by Mercury’s back and forth movement in retrograde.  In the predawn sky we can now glimpse both Mercury and Venus as brilliant Morning Stars, in addition to the morning appearance of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.  Mercury and Venus will remain within five degrees of one another over the next couple of weeks as the Moon waxes Full in Virgo on February 22.  Venus following in the footsteps of Mercury means that much of what was stirred up by the Mercury retrograde in January will be revisited within our emotional body and Venusian passions, ultimately helping to clarify the associated issues.

While most of the pivotal aspects formed by this New Moon are “after effects,” meaning aspects that perfected before the time of the New Moon, Venus in Capricorn is applying toward a trine with Jupiter in Virgo.  This means that the trine between Venus and Jupiter is intensifying at the New Moon, whereas most of the other major aspects discussed here will have already occurred.  For example, Mercury in Capricorn is also in range of a trine with Jupiter, only separating.  Mercury and Venus coming into range of a trine with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon, following their conjunction with Pluto and square with Uranus, means that out of the recent cathartic transits there is now an opportunity to seize and integrate the myriad material dredged up into a regenerated vision.  This New Moon supports being resolute in pursuit of new opportunities and growth leading into the unknown future, rather than relying upon the old and familiar ways of being.

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Upon Walking, I Saw the Goddess of the Intelligible, with Her Severe and Hard Profile (1885) by Odilon Redon

The conjunction of Jupiter with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo is also becoming tighter in opposition to the conjunction of Chiron with the South Node in Pisces, and the opposition between Jupiter and Chiron will continue to build with intensity in the coming lunar cycle.  While Jupiter conjoining the North Node clearly signifies opportunities to develop new belief systems and philosophies to live from, the opposition with Chiron implies we will be arriving at our new vision through a process of old wounds re-emerging not to hold us back, but rather to provide circumstances for us to have breakthrough experiences that liberate us from past restrictive beliefs.

A powerful aspect of the Aquarius New Moon supporting this process is Ceres in Pisces applying to a conjunction with Neptune.  The day after the New Moon, the Moon will pass over both Ceres and Neptune, and every day as the Moon waxes Full in the coming cycle Ceres will get closer to Neptune.  At the coming Full Moon in Virgo on February 22, Ceres will have culminated in her conjunction with Neptune.  Ceres is in between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and among other things signifies how we nourish and manage our willful, sometimes angry, desires of Mars into the Jupiter vision of life we live from. Neptune will dissolve whatever we have been carrying in our emotional and physical bodies that needs to be released as Ceres  approaches Neptune.  Our imagination will be activated, and Ceres can use imaginal forces most effectively when we are willing to enter into our full range of feelings without taking Neptune escape routes such as addictions and delusions.  The book The Eyes of the Skin contains a lucid description of the interplay between mind and body:

In The Book of Tea, Kakuzo Okakura gives a subtle description of the multi-sensory imagery evoked by the simple situation of the tea ceremony: ‘Quiet reigns with nothing to break the silence save the note of the boiling water in the iron kettle. The kettle sings well, for pieces of iron are so arranged in the bottom as to produce a peculiar melody in which one may hear the echoes of a cataract muffled by clouds, of a distant sea breaking among the rocks, a rainstorm sweeping through a bamboo forest, or of the soughing of pines on some faraway hill.’ In Oksakura’s description the present and the absent, the near and the distant, the sensed and the imagined fuse together. The body is not a mere physical entity; it is enriched by both memory and dream, past and future. Edward S Casey even argues that our capacity of memory would be impossible without a body memory. The world is reflected in the body, and the body is projected onto the world. We remember through our bodies as much as through our nervous system and brain.

— Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin, p. 45

Ceres is often interpreted in astrology through her mythic associations, an apt association as the planetary body was discovered in a lab near the site of Persephone’s abduction.  The Ceres of myth holds symbols we can associate with the astrology of Ceres: grains (the stabilizing gift of agriculture), opium poppies (solace from grief), and snakes (regeneration). I saw Demetra George lecture about the meaning of Ceres in astrology through connection with her myth, and one of the most powerful moments to me was when Demetra described the ability of Ceres to heal herself and regenerate within the waters of the Ladon river. The capacity of Ceres to heal herself, purifying her anger and rage in the ceaseless currents of water, correlates with the potential Self-nourishment which is available at this New Moon.

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6 0f Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius II Decan

The New Moon falls in the second face of Aquarius associated with the 6 of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The Swords in the image are anchored, suggesting firm resolve and grounding, yet staked into a boat journeying through watery, liminal space. There is a vision behind the image, a bold determination to follow foresight into foreign territory, with the ferryman in a role of guidance not unlike the psychopomp Mercury.  The destination on the far shore is not capable of being reached by the passengers without the utility of the boat and the labor of the ferryman, and so there is a letting go in needing to be along for the ride.

The second face of Aquarius is ruled by Mercury, seen in the image of the 6 of Swords as the ferryman creating a network between shores.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to this face, writing that it connects multiple territories with a sense of “principled but fierce wisdom” and independence:

Once again we see Mercury as ruler of this decan, for the swift planet’s sacred space is every road but no place. Mercury is lord of dualities and the space between them. Unlike the other decans which emphasize dualities, this one, being the middle decan of a fixed sign, is usually fixed, and stabilizes commerce between heaven and earth…

This face is one of independence, of living and becoming according to one’s principles. There is thus a certain royalty to this decan, for its residents connect worlds without becoming beholden to them. There is great benefit to plying these waters between, for they allow the connection of the orthodox and the unorthodox, the known and the unknown. The steady commerce between heaven and earth is maintained by a figure standing between them, mediating.

–Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 233 -234

Mercury, the ruler of the second decan of Aquarius is separating from a trine with Jupiter, traveling a few degrees ahead of Venus, and also separating from its square to Uranus and conjunction with Pluto at the time of the Aquarius New Moon.  The recent exact trine in which Mercury in Capricorn received Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo serves as a fitting symbol for the ability of this face to bridge divides, as Mercury entered the trine with Jupiter after triggering the square between Pluto and Uranus, and being in sextile with Mars in Scorpio.  As a result this Aquarius New Moon supports striking out from a place of empowerment and principle, capable of independently acting when necessary to weave together divisions.  This is the final New Moon before we enter the eclipse season of March, and so a time to come to clarity and prepare for the unknown to come.

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Pallasmaa, Juhani. (2005). The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses. John Wiley & Sons.

Rebirthing the Matrix

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Our Galactic Center

  • Jupiter station retrograde in Leo (23°) on December 8, 2014
  • Mercury conjunct Sun in Sagittarius (17°) on December 8, 2014
  • Venus ingress into Capricorn on December 10, 2014
  • Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn on December 14, 2014
  • Mercury ingress into Capricorn on December 16, 2014
  • Venus conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and square Uranus in Aries (13°) on December 20, 2014
  • Mars in Aquarius sextile Uranus in Aries on December 20, 2014
  • Uranus station direct (13°) on December 21, 2014
  • New Moon on the Capricorn Solstice (December 21, 2014)
  • Saturn ingress into Sagittarius on December 23, 2014
  • Mercury conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and square Uranus in Aries (13°) on December 24, 2014

Merry Solstice to one and all.  Our Sun was recently conjunct our Galactic Center, as it does every year as we approach the regenerative nature of the Capricorn Solstice that heralds Winter in the northern hemisphere, Summer in the southern hemisphere.  Accordingly we are in a dark and potent re-centering time, a dark moon solstice (with the Sagittarius Moon conjunct our Galactic Center) that is dominated by Uranus stationing direct simultaneously.  This year’s Capricorn Solstice is as fertile for intention setting as it gets, as a couple of hours after the solstice we experience a New Moon at the dawning of Capricorn.  In the moist darkness of this solstice, within awareness of the shadow cast by our unconscious, we can consciously plant a seed that will ultimately burst free with our full color from the deep roots we set as our foundation now.  Uranus in Aries is calling us to completely liberate from the past conditions restricting our growth up until this moment, and with Venus, Vesta, and Mercury joining Pluto in Capricorn in square to Uranus and the lunar nodes, we are entering a space to change the set of conditions we live our life from, rebirthing the matrix that shapes our lives on both personal and collective levels.

A matrix has been defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “something (such as a situation or a set of conditions) in which something else develops or forms,” and also as “a container that can be filled with a material to give the material a new shape.”  Fittingly the etymology of matrix connects to feminine procreation, and like the patterns found in an astrology chart, a matrix has also been defined as “something shaped like a pattern of lines and spaces.”  For those who spend time working with their astrology chart, there can be a tendency to fixate on certain interpretations that reinforce the repetitive patterns we develop our choices and responses to life from. Yet the brilliance of astrology can be found in the awareness it brings to us of our repetitive patterns so that we can liberate ourselves from the patterns that have left us unfulfilled, restricted, or stagnated, even when from an outside perspective it may appear that we are reaching the goals that we chose to focus upon.  The Capricorn archetype prominently featured in current transits connects with the potential that we can climb a mountain or overcome great odds in pursuit of a personal ambition, only to find within our successful achievement that it was not a goal that could bring us a sense of fulfillment.  Venus and Mercury joining Pluto in Capricorn can facilitate a plunge into our fathomless depths to change our structural nature, so we can assume a regenerated presence of form more naturally attuned to our desires that intrinsically motivate and satisfy our whole being.

CapricornSolsticeWRIGC1Going along with this idea of deep re-structuring, Mercury in Capricorn is sextile to Neptune in Pisces at this Solstice, and the Capricorn New Moon that arrives about two and a half hours after the Solstice is also sextile to Neptune in Pisces.  Furthermore, Venus and Pluto in Capricorn are sextile Chiron in Pisces, and Vesta in Capricorn is at the mid-point of a sextile to both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces.  The sextile between Capricorn and Pisces is insightful to ponder now, and brings to mind the sea-goat symbol of Capricorn with it’s watery tail dipped into an ocean of collective unconscious.  Capricorn and Pisces are both much stronger and effective when each draws upon the strengths of the other:  for Capricorn, it is letting go of control and manipulation in order to open their emotions with empathy to both nurture others through their striving as well as to flow with where the watery currents of their true soul desires lead them, instead of where their cultural conditioning expects them to go.  For Pisces, the harmonious help from Capricorn comes through making the unmanifest manifest, taking concrete steps to bring structure and form to their visions and ideals so that their imaginative impulses enter our reality to impact others through a creative expression of some sort, as well as owning the responsibility to be accountable to the demands of life in order to sustain a more stable life from which to continue to produce work.

In the recent past there were a number of planets passing through Sagittarius in square to Neptune and then Chiron in Pisces, and so now that we have a group of planets in Capricorn passing through sextile to Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, we can utilize any disillusionment and dissolving we have experienced to re-align and re-structure our lives at a source level so we can live closer to our personal truth.  If we became unbalanced on the Sagittarius side of things, we may also need to reflect upon how we became too dogmatic, too self-centered and narcissistic, or too over-confident that a belief system we felt encapsulates the truth holds more weight than other perspectives, becoming a self-proclaimed guru or fanatic in the process.  In comparison, if we became unbalanced on the Pisces side of things, we may need to realize that we have been victimizing ourselves to an unhealthy extent through our oversensitivity, or becoming so wrapped up in a self-centered illusion that we became completely in denial to vital issues in our environment that require our full awareness.  Since we remain in the wake of a square between Uranus and Pluto, with Uranus stationing direct, there is no doubt something very significant that has been dislodged from our depths for us to work with, confront, or integrate.

Indeed, a week ago we experienced the sixth of the seven squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn that have been ongoing since 2012.  We only have one more exact square in this cycle, which will occur days before the Aries Equinox and a Solar Eclipse. The seven squares between Uranus and Pluto bring to mind our seven traditional planets and our seven chakras, and the associated symbolism.  As a result, the sixth square connects to the sixth chakra as well as the sixth planet, Jupiter.  This symbolism works out perfectly, as Jupiter stationed retrograde in Leo prior to the sixth square, bringing the Jupiter archetype into prominence as well as the intuitive shift that comes with its station into a retrograde perspective.  When Jupiter stations and turns retrograde, we have a greater capacity to turn away from the expectations of others and the conditioning of our culture that cause us to act from a false sense of self to meet outside demands, in order to turn within to recover our personal truth and motivation to pursue desires that bring us genuine vitality and fuel our passions.

The traditional symbolism of the sixth chakra also resonates with the astrological aspects surrounding the sixth square between Uranus and Pluto, as issues such as intuition, imagination, insight, image, dreams, and visualization come to mind.  Anodea Judith’s Eastern Body, Western Mind analyzed the developmental tasks associated with this chakra to be about the establishment of our personal identity as well as our capacity to perceive the patterns of our life.  If balanced, we can have a perceptive intuition that can think symbolically, visualize, and both recall and work with the material found within our memories and dreams.  In contrast, if out of balance we can have issues around insensitivity and difficulty with our memories, vision, and imagination.  We can also find ourselves in denial, delusional, obsessive, and becoming fixated that our way is the only way.  Judith also analyzed associated traumas and abuse that I find resonate with the potential danger of this sixth square:  “what you see doesn’t go with what you’re told,” “invalidation of intuition and psychic occurrences,” and “ugly or frightening environment (war zone, violence).”  These same concepts further connect with the sixth planet Jupiter’s rulership of Sagittarius, an archetype featured strongly at this sixth square, as the chart below reveals:

6thUranus-PlutoSquareWRIGC1

When the sixth square between Uranus and Pluto became exact on December 14, the Moon was at the beginning of Libra with Jupiter retrograde conjunct Juno in Leo, highlighting an additional link between the intensity of this square and all of our personal relationships, including our relationship to our surrounding collective culture and conditioning.   In fact, this last Pluto and Uranus square has a relational impact within our psyche that truly goes beyond the ability of words to capture in its intensity, since the lunar nodes are in the relational signs of Aries and Libra, with Uranus conjunct the South Node of the Moon and opposite the North Node of the Moon, and Pluto in Capricorn square both the South and North Nodes of the Moon.  Moreover, the North Node ruler is a Venus in Capricorn conjunct Pluto and also in square to the lunar nodes, and the South Node ruler is a Mars in Aquarius that is in sextile to Uranus and the South Node in Aries and in trine to the North Node in Libra.

In plain English, this symbology points to the most primal issues connected to our relationship choices, no matter how hidden they have previously been in the far reaches of our consciousness, erupting forward into our present mindset and surrounding environment for us to face.  The silver lining of serendipity within this intensity is the Mars in Aquarius making the previously mentioned harmonious aspects, bringing with it the potential to liberate ourselves from our previous patterns that have disempowered us in relationship, in order to integrate our burgeoning self-awareness into re-structuring our present conditions into a transformed presence more attuned to the vision of life we hold dear to our hearts.  Mars in Aquarius brings a detached objectivity that enables us to step back from the past conditioning that has influenced our sense of will in the direction of consensus reality structures.  With Mars in Aquarius we can feel and realize what about our recent identity and behavior is not truly who we are at heart, giving us the chance to experiment with, rebel against, and change the circumstances that have led up to our present moment.  Mars in Aquarius can sense the future and in correspondence we can make modifications to creatively actualize more of the unique purpose we were born with in order to serve our surrounding collective.

With Saturn at the very end of Scorpio, preparing to enter Sagittarius in a few days, all of the deep rooted feelings we have not yet faced and addressed are coming up now with an intensity to match the level of resistance we have been projecting onto them.  Saturn rules Capricorn where Venus is currently conjunct Pluto in square to the lunar nodes, and so our collective north node direction in Libra demands that we do this important inner work, realize what aspects of our shadow have been impacting our relationships despite our denial, and realize how we have been acting in order to meet the expectations of family or culture instead of our own Self.  Mars in Aquarius has a polarity of Leo, where Jupiter is retrograde conjunct Juno, and so we must take the courage of the Lion to heart in order to break free from the old structures of our life and the status quo we have become acclimated and attached to.

Finding and living from a true sense of personal justice in our relationships is an important theme of this Capricorn Solstice, not only because of the North Node of Libra ruled by a Venus conjunct Pluto and in square to Uranus, but also because of the asteroid goddess Themis #24 being at zero degrees of Sagittarius on the day of the Solstice and New Moon, and so conjunct Saturn as it leaves Scorpio to enter Sagittarius. Themis  is the Titaness of natural law, divine order, justice, and custom, the daughter of Gaia who is connected with “divine law” more so than “human-made law.”  Themis connects to the principle that conditioning and law is not necessarily bad, for it is necessary for many to learn how to act and think in accordance with the highest good for all beings in all of our dimensions.  In fact, when we go against the divine law of Themis, we invite the wrathful retribution of Nemesis.  Unfortunately, not all human-made laws and conditioning factors of our culture are actually in harmony with Themis and divine law, and so it is necessary at this Solstice and New Moon to make intentions to re-discover our personal truth liberated from the oppressive aspects of surrounding culture.  Themis was also a mediator of oracular power, and so also connects to the potential of using Mars in Aquarius to guide us toward our liberated future vision.

morris graves black buddha

Black Buddha Mandala (1944) by Morris Graves

It is important to further reflect upon the meaning of the New Moon lunation occurring on the day of the Solstice.  Unlike the powerful Capricorn Solstice of 2010 that was a Total Lunar Eclipse and so a Full Moon of peaking polarity, the Capricorn Solstice of 2014 is more of a New Moon born out of dark, waning lunar tides.  Therefore it is insightful to reflect back upon events surrounding the pivotal peak of this past lunation cycle, the Gemini Full Moon that occurred on December 6, 2014.  This Gemini Full Moon was a catalytic spark to the issues erupting during this time of Solstice and the square between Uranus and Pluto (I was on Kristin Fontana’s Guiding Stars radio show discussing this Gemini Full Moon that you can find an archived recording of here).  Especially important to the context of Uranus stationing direct on the Solstice, the Gemini Full Moon of December 6 was conjunct the North Node of Uranus in Gemini, and the Sun at the time was conjunct the South Node of Uranus.  This means that the entire arc of how the Uranus archetype impacts our life has been completely lit up and illuminated with all of its shattering spectacle in these past few weeks, culminating in Uranus stationing direct at this Solstice.

Working with Uranus can be difficult for many because Uranus demands change and liberation despite your current attachments, and so the things we possess and cling to tightly can explode in the face of a Uranus transit.  In situations in which we have felt oppressed or restricted and yearned for a change of conditions, the implosions of Uranus can also create space and opportunities for us to finally make the changes to our structure that have felt long overdue from a soul perspective.  Following the Gemini Full Moon that lit up the Uranus archetype a couple of weeks ago, two further important astrological events occurred:  (1) Jupiter stationed retrograde in Leo as previously mentioned, and (2) there was a superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun in Sagittarius.  This visionary Mercury transit gave us an opportunity to perceive a vision of our future that we can now work to develop with Mercury in Capricorn and conjunct Pluto.

Interestingly in connection to current events, the superior conjunction of Mercury in Sagittarius on December 8 was in trine to the superior conjunction of Mercury in Leo that occurred around the time of the Aquarius Full Moon of August 10, 2014 that was furthermore in trine to the Gemini Full Moon of December 6.  It was at the time of this Aquarius Full Moon that the eruption of events and protests surrounding the death of Michael Brown at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri occurred.  While there is nothing new about police brutality and inequitable treatment of people of color by law enforcement, something about the incredible liberating energy of that Aquarius Full Moon and Superior Conjunction of Mercury illuminated awareness that elevated public protest was necessary.  The trines from that time to the recent Gemini Full Moon correlate to the further intensification of public protest following the non-guilty verdicts for the officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner.  As additional episodes of police killing people of color entered the news cycle, public protest and acts of civil disobedience in connection intensified. This public movement has direct symbolic correlation with the astrology of this time, in particular the prominence that the Uranus archetype has been demanding.

Mars entered Aquarius on the same day that the non-guilty verdict of the officer who strangled Eric Garner to death was announced.  Mars in Aquarius brings with it an energy of potential rebellion and radical action, but when working with Mars in Aquarius on personal levels as well as with intention to create change in the collective, it is vital to use Aquarian foresight in order to structure focused, impactful choices for protest and rebellion.  One of the shadow sides of Mars in Aquarius can be in becoming so intense in the face of oppressive conditions that our desire for change and protest leads us to rebel against not only the system but also our own well-being, or the greater well-being.  For example, in public protest acts of civil disobedience can be very powerful in certain circumstances, but they have the greatest impact when carefully designed to hit a target while spreading a message, instead of simply being about blowing something up.  In our personal lives, we will want to work with the shattering energy of Uranus to carefully re-build our lives and the surrounding system from the inside out, instead of simply rebelling for the sake of rebelling without purposeful intention.

In addition, Mars in Aquarius can become so detached that we emotionally disassociate from the impact of our behavior on the feelings of others, or we do not allow ourselves to feel all of the emotions that can help us nurture the needs of our relationships.  Similar to how we need to integrate the nurturing archetype of Cancer to the polarity of Pluto, Venus, and Mercury in Capricorn now, we also need to bridge the personal archetype of Leo to the impersonal collective polarity of Mars in Aquarius.  From a place of Aquarian actualization that is heart-centered, we can regain our solar Leo luminosity to radiate our pure Self in a manner that lights a path of inspiration for others.

Penseroso_&_L'Allegro_William_Blake

The Great Sun by William Blake

In the evolutionary astrology system developed by Jeff Green, Uranus has an additional meaning connected to our long-term soul memory, meaning not only all of the memories we have stored from our present lifetime that we may or may not consciously remember in this moment, but also all of our memories from past incarnations that we do not consciously remember.  Some people do gain awareness for past life memories, however, and the potent astrological context that Uranus is stationing within now points to the potential for deep soul memories to emerge from our unconscious.  Whether these are memories from past lives, or memories from the current lifetime that have been buried, or a new perspective gained regarding our present behavior that we had previously been in denial of, this Uranus stationing will be bringing something extremely significant to the forefront of our consciousness.  We need to take time out to nurture ourselves with loving care, feel compassion for where we currently are in our development and not be overly critical of ourselves for not being where we think we should be.  Wherever we are, it is a necessary place in our process to be in, and with loving care we can facilitate growth within that will take us beyond any disheartening, distressing, restrictive, or oppressive circumstances in our present or recent past.

“Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That’s part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads ―at least that’s where I imagine it― there’s a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you’ll live forever in your own private library.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

This awareness of something from our past being recycled and stirred up in order to help us embody a reborn presence is further reflected in the current balsamic phase between Mars in Aquarius and Venus in Capricorn, with Uranus in Aries being sextile Mars in Aquarius.  Mars and Venus in a balsamic phase will bring significant relationship issues and partners to the surface that are connected with our past patterns.  This is a time of facing the way we have been in the past with relationships with an open heart, allowing us to feel all of our emotions no matter how dark or discomforting.  By taking it all in now, we can dissolve and release the relationship patterns that no longer serve us so we can create the relationships that will serve our needs as well as gain a clearer capacity to listen to the needs of all of our relationships.

Following the Solstice New Moon, Saturn will enter the sign of Sagittarius and Mercury will re-ignite the square between Uranus and Pluto by becoming conjunct Pluto, in square to Uranus and the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and also in square to the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  When a pivotal planet like Saturn ingresses into a new sign, we get an immediate sense of some of the major issues that will be coming our way in the next phase of life, and the information we receive through our interactions with others could be very intense considering the fact that Mercury will be conjunct Pluto and in square to Uranus and the lunar nodes at the same time.  As a result, this next week is another important threshold for us to enter with Mercury present as our guide.  With Mercury and Venus both still in Capricorn, taking personal responsibility for our responses to what is coming at us in our life will be paramount, integrating the Cancer polarity of nurturing our Self and our loved ones.